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Written Statement - Appointment of Expert Group on Local Government Diversity

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Local Government and Government Business

During the debate in this Assembly on the Promotion of Local Democracy on 14 May, I announced my intention to establish an Expert Group to consider the results of the Local Government Candidates Survey 2012 and related issues.

I am pleased to announce I have appointed Professor Laura McAllister of the University of Liverpool, to chair the group along with three other members, Joy Kent, Chief Executive of Chwarae Teg, Dr Declan Hall, formerly a Lecturer in Local Government and Politics at  Birmingham University and Naomi Alleyne, Director of Equalities at the Welsh Local Government Association. The biographies of the group members are detailed below.

I have asked the Group to start work immediately and to report to me by Christmas. The Terms of Reference of the Group are as follows:  

  1. To consider and analyse the results of the Local Government Candidates Survey 2012 carried out under the provisions of Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011.
  2. To identify any improvements to the methodology and content of the survey  which could be addressed prior to the next Local elections in 2017.
  3. To examine the implications of the survey results as regards the profile of Local Government in Wales.
  4. To take evidence from interested persons and organisations in relation to the survey results and Local Government diversity more generally.
  5. To develop an action plan for the Welsh Government, Local Government, political groups and other stakeholders which can help to design policy aimed at increased diversity and therefore improving the profile of elected members following the 2017 Local elections.

Biographies

Professor Laura McAllister is the Chair of Sport Wales and Professor of Governance at the University of Liverpool's School of Management. She was educated at Bryntirion Comprehensive School, Bridgend and is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Cardiff University where she completed a PhD in politics. Laura was a member of the Richard Commission on the Powers and Electoral Arrangements for the National Assembly which reported in March 2004 and she provided research advice to the Independent Panel on AMs' Pay and Support in 2008-09. She is Honorary Visiting Professor at Cardiff University, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia and the China National School of Administration, Beijing.

A former Wales football international and national team captain with 24 caps, Laura is currently Chair of Sport Wales. Laura is a Board Member of UK Sport and the Welsh Football Trust. She is project sponsor for sport at the University of Liverpool, and chairs the Sport Liverpool Strategy Group. She is a Trustee of Stonewall UK and the Institute of Welsh Affairs, as well as a member of the Wales Advisory Committee of the British Council. Laura holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Bangor and Glamorgan.

Joy Kent has been the chief executive of Chwarae Teg since January 2013. Before joining the organisation she was the founding director of Cymorth Cymru, an umbrella body for organisations working with vulnerable people and prior to that held policy roles at the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru, the Welsh Local  Government Association and Welsh Government. Joy is also a trustee of the WCVA and a director of WCVA Services. Before settling in Wales, Joy taught at and managed private language schools in Spain, the Czech Republic, Brazil and Egypt. 

Dr Declan Hall was until recently a lecturer in Local Government and Politics at the Institute of Local Government at the University of Birmingham and from 2008-12 a member of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales. Dr Hall also has close involvement with councillor remuneration schemes in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. He is now an independent consultant on local government issues.

Naomi Alleyne is the Director of Equality and Social Justice at the Welsh Local Government Association. She was previously employed in the Equalities Unit at the then Welsh Assembly Government working on race equality and asylum and immigration issues. She has also worked within two Race Equality Councils, holding the position of Director in the South East Wales REC.